Morning Ed: Crime & Justice {2016.12.08.Th}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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144 Responses

  1. I’m not sure what I think about that SPLC article. It’s a bit over the top, referring to “hate crimes” and yet toward the end distinguishing between “crimes” and “incidents.”

    There is probably a there, there, however. It’s that sometimes white kids are victims of bullying and the fact that they’re white is one of the ways that the bullying is sometimes conveyed. In elementary and middle school, but less so in high school, I had to be careful of people who were out to get the “white boy.” It was not always or even usually bullying, however. It was the constant reminder that I didn’t belong (well, kind of a reminder….I believe all the schools I went to were technically majority white).

    I’m prepared to admit the whole suite of counterarguments. Anecdote isn’t data, the “incidents” were more than 30 years ago, and my memory is definitely playing some distorting role in how I relate the facts. The anti-white attitude was probably much less prevalent than I believed at the time and in some sense was something my imagination made bigger than it really was. Minority students had much more to fear, I imagine, than I ever did, and it seems pretty clear to me in retrospect that teachers (even the non-white ones) gave me more breaks than many of my classmates, and the fact that I was white probably had something to do with that. I was probably much more popular than I remember, and I was sometimes a bully, too.

    I’m just saying that attitudes are learned somehow, and what happens at school is one those ways, and in certain environments, it makes sense, to preserve one’s safety, to make racist choices. If we really do live in a racist society, I don’t know how that attitude can be 100% wrong when it comes to short-term decision making.

    I realize my arguments treads dangerously close to “racial realism” territory. That is not my intention. I don’t mean any of what I said above to suggest it’s good to make racist choices. While it sometimes seems necessary to make certain calculations, it’s much better to leave one’s comfort zone and communicate with and learn from others.Report

  2. Avatar Damon says:

    Roof: Frankly, I don’t care what white people or black people think. What do the relatives of the people he killed think? They are the people who should be given weight in whether he dies or not.

    Crap playing cop: Now this is what you could call “enhanced community policing”. 🙂

    Hate Crime Reporting: So, kinda like the downgrading reporting that goes on re murder, rape, etc.?

    SPLC: Really, you understand why they did that? You understand why they intentionally mislead people? It’s a hate crime or it isn’t. Or are you going to claim that it’s not a hate crime if it’s done to white folks?

    Crush spying: Let’s not forget that someone is probably using sat cams to oogle chicks on nude beaches too.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      Re: Roof

      I disagree. I staunchly oppose the death penalty in all situations in a civilized society. That said, if we are going to have the death penalty, I want as many checks and balances on it so that it is uses as judiciously (and rarely) as possible.

      I care what people think about the death penalty — in general and in specific cases — insofar as it gives insight into the arguments for and against it and how I can structure my opposition.

      I don’t want to say that we should not consider the feelings of the victims and their loved ones. Those matter. But I don’t think they are best addressed through the criminal justice system. Or, rather, I don’t think our current criminal justice system is designed to address them and certainly not via the death penalty. I’d much rather see mental health support offered than quenching blood lust.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        Roof: I’m not necessarily pro or anit death penalty. I’ve seen enough to know that we currently don’t “do” DP well in the US and I’m against it at least until the process gets fixed/better.

        My comment was more-the only people who have a legit claim of input are the victims, when compared to the whole of society, black or white.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          I disagree. Particularly in the case of paid murderers, where parents pay murderers to kill their children.
          After the kid is dead, who the fuck is going to care?
          Society, and only society, cares in that case.Report

        • Avatar Kolohe says:

          Damon: My comment was more-the only people who have a legit claim of input are the victims, when compared to the whole of society, black or white.

          Removing from those afflicted any responsibilty for dispensing justice, and granting it to the state as a monopoly, is how we get civilization.Report

          • Avatar Joe Sal says:

            You/we get civilization from people choosing to be civil. I suppose it may be useful to clad the furniture in impersonal institutions and social justice, but the foundation and mortar come from choice, not monopoly.

            If you cannot trust the people to make the civil choice, in the end the monopoly doesn’t matter.Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              You may replace “choosing” with “breeding people who will be civil” if you would like.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                That works until it doesn’t.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                In very few possible futures do I see the alpha males managing to outbreed the others.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                There are a lot of genetic variables that move around during times of prosperity versus scarcity. How that plays out between possible semantics of alphas and others probably depends on function, eh?Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Not as much as you’d expect, really. Alphas prospered when the idea of a strongman was King — in small (under 200 people) communities.

                Prosperity has, in some sense, never left, once we hit some critical mass of civilization — here seen with avenues of communication as one of the primary attributes.

                Unless the entire earth goes tits up — the current dynamics disadvantage the strongmen, and the future continues to tilt in the favor of betas (and, to some extent, “shadow alphas” — here defined as the folks who don’t need a mistress or two on the side — your minstrels, rock stars, etc.)Report

            • Avatar Kolohe says:

              I completely agree that peace and stability mostly requires people to be in the habit of being peaceable and stable on their own; deterrence is a weak tool as it breaks easily under too much torque. (This is something the conservatives, the real ones at least, have maintained for a while, and are correct on)

              Still, though, peace and stability are not served by maintaining any sort of retribution input into the system (on the criminal side of things, which may be a substantial caveat). This includes any and all sorts of ‘victim rights’ getting into the process.

              And thus, the families of those Dylan Roof (allegedly) killed cannot have a say in his punishment. I understand that this is not the way it is, but the way it should be.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                Verdicts of social institutions create the least amount of reflection in preferences of subjective justice.

                I think social constructors will say this is the way it’s supposed to be.

                Individual constructors will say this is the flaw.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater says:

              but the foundation and mortar come from choice, not monopoly.

              That’s certainly not true historically, and it’s not true according to anthropological accounts of the origins of societies, including nation-states.

              It’s not even true, seems to me, in a “post-civilized” world where the material/causal ladder compelling people to live in increasingly civil arrangements can be kicked away after we step off of the last rung, finally arriving at a utopia of voluntarism and consent. Constraining and (effectively) terminating the reciprocal nature of violence is a big problem, one threatening peaceful institutions unless the compulsion to personally react is redirected into less socially destructive impulses mediated by the state, either thru legal action (which terminates the cycle via third party judgment) or state-sponsored cathartic ritual sacrifice (capital punishment) or threat of violence as a mechanism of deterrence (fines/imprisonment/banishment), and so on.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                History has shown the primary internal function of state is to facilitate people getting along. When it fails to do that, it either changes or collapses from faction.

                What really makes people get along? Social constructions or individual constructions? How long will your social construction last without copious amounts of leaning toward individual agency and individual sovereighnty?

                Now what happens when nation states are built upon people who choose to not get along? What does history show there, even modern history?

                The ability of even peaceful institutions can’t continue to chant ‘obey’ and make it so.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                If I could point at the fewest parameters that could help the social constructors build a society we could get along in, I would start with these two:

                Lasting social constructs are built on the foundation of individual consent.

                Lasting constructs are built with the mortar of individual agency.

                This is given with complete recognition of my own bias in social objectivity.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Lasting social constructs are built on the foundation of individual consent.

                Lasting constructs are built with the mortar of individual agency.

                Sure. Well, maybe. Ceteris paribus at best.

                Seems to me you’re confusing consent as determined by practicality in a complex world (pragmatics), and consent as an ideologically necessary first-principle (utopian ideal).

                Add: Which is to say, I could agree with you about the normative and philosophically compelling nature of utopia as the ideal while still holding that that ideal is unattainable. So then we’re left bickering about moving the needle marginally, at the edges, without reaching the breaking point, and so on.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Here’s another way to say it, Joe, and I don’t know if it addresses what you’re thinking but it’s a response to what I’m thinking you’re thinking…

                Radical individualism is the idea (in a nutshell) that if any individual in a governable society does not consent to the imposition of an enforceable restriction on his/her freedom, that restriction is necessarily invalid irredardless of practicality, utility, consequentionality (I just made up a word there, sorry), logical coherence, etc.

                Such a society, in my view, is perfectly impossible, unless the limiting conditions on what constitutes a society reduce to 1. But then we’re just talking about pure, narrow, irrational, self-interest.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                If that’s the way you want to look at it, it’s all good. I really was just offering. Big cracks in the brick work and a shifting foundation is nothing but a popcorn event in my camp.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Joe, our global political, financial, market, individual institutions are not going to collapse while eating popcorn. People (like you!) have been saying as much, literally, since The Dawn of Man. They’re nothing but apocalyptic fantasies (that’s really what they are, fantasies, longings…).

                Notably, you haven’t talked about the real threats that jeopardize humans – and therefore you and your kids – longevity. Things like globalthermonuclearwar, ferinstance. Or climate change.

                How does your theory of individual constructs deal with AGW?Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                If you don’t have nation states and your skirmishes are small and isolated, why would you need nuclear war heads?
                Hell the only thing getting in the way of complete nuclear arms disarmament is… constructs.

                Lets talk about climate change, what is the resource allocation for………social constructs.

                This is without getting a little arbitrary and asking what the natural carrying capacity is for the earth and how having/not having social constructs better conforms to the conditions.

                There is no theory about individual constructs that will sound plausible to social constructors.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                If you don’t have nation states and your skirmishes are small and isolated, why would you need nuclear war heads?

                “Need”? I think you’re misunderstanding the motivation. The problem isn’t (your conception of) “need” but can.

                Lets talk about climate change, what is the resource allocation for………social constructs.

                As you indicate in the comment, resource allocation to something other than climate change is distinct from resolving the problem itself, either in terms of prevention OR mitigation.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                I was asking for a quantity, to reflect what the usage was. It looks as though your saying the question needs to be reframed, maybe just take a stab at overall consumption of social constructs.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Why do you think an individual wouldn’t want to, or even use, a nuke in your scenario?

                Cuz they buy into the individual construct ideology, right?

                But what if all these folks who buy into that framework (or the dismalntling of the old one, more precisely) are moreorless just like the people in our current society, folks filled with ambitions and resentments and imperfections? Doesn’t game theory still apply?

                So, suppose an initial state comprised of people just like us, as we currently are, adopting an ideology of and living according to the precepts of “individual constructs”. How long before defections (excusable, of course, we’re talking about imperfect human beings here) create a dynamic in which a third party (let’s call it the state) governs a previously unimaginable array of activities?Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Stillwater’s right.

                They won’t need nuclear weapons. Which is in no way gonna stop them from getting them.

                Nuclear weapons were, perhaps once, about “need”. Now they’re about power.

                We could be a world of complete, autonomous individuals free of those pesky nations and social compacts — and people would want nukes, and some of them would acquire them.

                They don’t really require a nation state to buy, or even build. They require tools and materials that are only difficult to buy because of nations.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Hell, if he could afford it, Damon would have a nuke for personal use.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                That’s a point in Joe’s favor. If we had individual contructs, no one could afford a nuke. The expensive parts of a nuke would still be expensive, and the cheap parts of the nuke – like dumping the waste in the podunk parts (and some non podunk parts) of Tennesee, Colorado, Idaho and Washington – would also be expensive.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Yes, cuz everyone would be poor. 🙂

                OK, more seriously, could Bill Gates afford a nuke? Was his money dependent upon social constructs? Could no one attain that level of wealth within an individual construct paradigm? Would no one ever defect from it?Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                A paradigm of hyperindividual contructs would lead to more low intensity breaches of the peace, fewer massive breaches of the peace, more income & wealth equality, less aggregate wealth and tech progress.

                So no war, more threats to individual security, everyone’s more equal, and yes most are more poor.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                I will give minor points of pushback on aggregate wealth, in the form of what it is doing in social constructs. If it is just creating more people and not prosperity, I would weight it accordingly.

                Also with progress in tech. While it may be true that the overall tech would develop a larger quantum under the social, that quantum would be more centralized and less distributed.

                I don’t know if there are really good grounds to say that tech formation in captured markets and social constructs would develop faster than left to the individual constructs.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                OK, more seriously, could Bill Gates afford a nuke?

                Absent a state to stop him? Yes, Gates has enough money. A modest reactor to produce plutonium, a lab to separate it and fabricate the pit, sufficient computer power to simulate the details for an implosion-type bomb. This is no longer rocket science — see “Nth country experiment” from the 1960s.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                If we had individual contructs, no one could afford a nuke

                Nukes aren’t that expensive or difficult to build.

                Certain raw materials and certain technologies are closely tracked and prevented from reaching certain countries, but basically if you didn’t have a handful of countries sitting on various sources of the ores you need AND making sure you don’t buy certain machinery, it’s well within the reach of a number of private concerns to build one or two.

                Rockets aren’t that much harder. You know what SpaceX is building? Yeah, that’s an ICBM.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                I don’t think you understand the theory. If individual constructs was the norm there would be no reason to build or have a nuclear weapon. A conflict would be between two people. Why maintain a nuclear war head for that?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Defectors from individual constructs. You, know, the type of person who accepts more money to be an “enforcer” than he can make at the corner deli.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                I am not going to unpack this beyond this comment.

                Defectors wouldn’t be much issue if there were relatively few and distributed. The problem with these type of defectors is they would seek each other out and start forming camps. Again, not a big deal.

                The problem arises when they create written law and start trying to impose those laws outside their own camps.

                I imaging the rule of law for the individuals will signify the ability of individuals for self defense against aggression. So what likely happens is the social camps will eventually send imposers out to impose their written law. The individuals will see this as a form of aggression/assault and the imposer agents will likely be dispatched.

                If the social camps are strong in their convictions of imposition, the attrition rate will eventually deplete their populations.Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                Because people aren’t idiots and would realize that two can get more done than one (and so on). So individuals would band together to get common goals achieved.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Oh I see, you’re talking about aliens. I was thinking “humans”.

                I mean I jump in to help my friends when they’re in trouble. Family too.

                You know what existed before nations? The Clan.

                You gonna magically make family bonds disappear to? I mean why not? We’re already so far into the ivory tower it’s not like it matters. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                Does individual consent come from knowing the complex world, or the optics within it’s range? Along which path does democracy run closest? Where does pragmatism land?

                If the system was relabeled to complex worldocracy, how would people feel about consent to that?

                (ok, this last sentences is partly in jest, but partly interested in a sincere response)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Does individual consent come from knowing the complex world, or the optics within it’s range?

                Now you’re asking: if people knew more, would they consent to it? If they weren’t deluded by propaganda and messaging, would they consent to it? If they thought about this stuff like I DO, would they CONSENT TO IT?????Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                Dude, I’m not going full tilt lawyer and asking a question I know the answer to.

                Peoples optics on what they apply their individual consent varies, and hell, it even moves around as the optics change. This is what social constructors are building upon.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                This is what social constructors are building upon.

                Now you’ve just begged the question, Joe. Really.Report

          • Avatar Damon says:


            Fixed that for you.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 says:

          My comment was more-the only people who have a legit claim of input are the victims, when compared to the whole of society, black or white.

          The last people we should be using to determine punishment are the victims. That doesn’t result injustice, but vengeance.Report

        • Avatar Dan says:

          A thousand times, no. That’s just personal retribution, not community justice.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:


          How far are you willing to go with that? Does every victim get to weigh in on every criminal’s sentence?Report

          • Avatar Damon says:

            No, only the victims of that particular individual.

            Sadly, I couldn’t find a perfect example. There was a short movie shown on the Sci Fi Channel-note this predates the spell change…Scenario:

            Dude in jail. He steps onto a lift to the surface—desert scene. Family of his victim on a similar platform. Prisoner has to run from his location, say 50 years to the “safe zone”-where he will descend to prison. The victim’s family gets the opportunity to prevent that…by killing him. Best line “family, arm yourself”. They all grab shot guns and start chasing the criminal.

            Yeah..I can totally go along with that form of “justice”.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

      Really, you understand why they did that?

      Don’t we all? When you’re trying to craft a narrative, sometimes the facts need a little encouragement to play along.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      I don’t care what white people or black people think. What do the relatives of the people he killed think? They are the people who should be given weight in whether he dies or not.

      The problem with this particular theory is that this isn’t justice.

      Two victims, A and B.

      A’s family is a bunch of ‘necks and they begin their screams for justice, screams for revenge. “We will never have our A back! We call for the Death Penalty!”

      B’s family is far more intellectual insofar as they’ve actually read a book before. This book was a collection of Orwell essays and it included his essay “A Hanging“. “Killing this man will not bring our beloved B back”, they say sadly. “Just put him in a room by himself until he dies of old age.”

      Our justice system shouldn’t pick what it does based on what the victim’s relatives’ opinions are.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        “Our justice system shouldn’t pick what it does based on what the victim’s relatives’ opinions are.”

        Nor am I advocating that. As I said “They are the people who should be given weight in whether he dies or not” not ALL the weight, but input.

        Justice? We don’t have now either, so….Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Two criminals.
          Two sets of victims.

          If we’re going to end up with two different punishments and say that that’s okay, we’re going to need to hammer out exactly what we mean when we say “justice”.Report

          • Avatar Joe Sal says:

            It only looks like a flaw, because you can’t normalize subjective justice.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater says:

              subjective justice.

              Post-Modernism has longer arms than I previously thought … 🙂Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              In real life, I pretty much shrugged and said “yeah, you got that right”, but here, online, I have to puff myself up and say “NUH-UH!” and point out that we require something close to a single set of prescriptions lest we end up in a place where we have one standard of justice for this group of people and a different standard of justice for that one.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Man, if only the internet mapped onto real life. (I blame post-modernism.)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Real life lags a bit.

                But only a bit. It’ll catch up.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Is the lag in a time warp? Of about three and a half hours?

                That’s how long ago you wrote:

                Our justice system shouldn’t pick what it does based on what the victim’s relatives’ opinions are.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                And then, just a little bit after that:

                If we’re going to end up with two different punishments and say that that’s okay, we’re going to need to hammer out exactly what we mean when we say “justice”.

                Maybe we need to hammer out what we mean when we say “justice”.

                At this point, it’s looking like “justice” is similar to race, gender, sexuality, class, and so on insofar as it’s a social construction and just because you’re so square and uptight about this happy crappy doesn’t mean that our descendants have to be.

                Well, *I* don’t have descendants. Children are not compatible with an ethical environmentalism.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Man, I’d LOVE to get to the place where I could offer, by my own admission, three completely irreconcilable views in three hours.

                I gotta take this internet thing more seriously, yo!Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                You’ll be amazed at how many opinions you might be able to have in a short time if you consider that someone else might be right and you might be wrong.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                You’re confused. I get that. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Re-apprehending that “I very, very much dislike the conclusion of that logic” does not necessarily lead to “therefore that logic is wrong!” usually leaves me feeling pretty staggered.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                “The purpose of a guru is to guide you from safe harbor, out to sea … and leave you there.”Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Coyote approves of this idea.
                It is, however, dangerous to use Coyote to solve your problems for you.
                He may decide that your death is the most amusing solution.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Nice. Cynicism always has a way back in.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                In this country, The United States of America, we do have differential standards of justice. Some are legal, some are extralegal. Hiring a better lawyer goes a long way to getting you out of trouble, after all.Report

          • Avatar Don Zeko says:

            The notion that it’s just fine if the same crime carries different penalties depending upon the identity of the victim and perpetrator is pretty damn close to being settled law. see McClesky v. KempReport

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Yeah, I wonder how making that sort of thing official will change society.

              The arc of history is long, but it bends toward Hammurabi getting it right in the first place.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko says:

                The important point is that you can’t admit that there’s a different penalty. So long as it’s something that everyone knows is true but that nobody wrote down officially, you’re golden.Report

  3. Avatar Kim says:

    SPLC? Damn, that’s embarrassing. Someone needs to do better quality control on their research.

    The lawyer in that should be embarrassed though — SPLC is just a fundraising apparatus to keep fundraising? Lawyer doesn’t know game theory in the slightest (and this is the sort of game theory that lawyers better ought to know).

    SPLC is an armtwisting organization, who uses “We’ll list you on our hate groups” to get some of the less obstinate groups to lay the fuck off. Because I, unlike that guy, actually know people in the organization.Report

    • Avatar Joe Sal says:

      I don’t trust ‘facts’ people because of facts like this.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Please read the report on NJ.
        I don’t think SPLC had much to do with the analysis of schoolteachers, as they’re quite free at admitting the reports they’ve gotten about harrassment of TrumpSupporters after the election.

        Armtwisting is just one way of encouraging compliance. I find it a decent alternative to other forms of social sanction, like shunning.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      “Someone needs to do better quality control on their research.”

      Actually I’d say their research was quite good, in this instance. Their thesis was “harassment of minority students increased after Trump won the election”, and they found evidence to support that (and none to disprove it).

      Analysis of that result and its implications, and decision on a path foward, definitely depends on more information–like, “did white students also see an increase in harassment” would be a big part of that decision. But it’s no more nefarious to not publish data irrelevant to the studied thesis than it would be for, say, someone studying the extent of Arctic pack ice to not publish data about polar bear population.Report

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        No, it wasn’t. They entitled their article “The Trump Effect: The Impact of The 2016 Presidential Election on Our Nation’s Schools”. On what basis do you drop the consideration of majority students?

        The Executive Summary reads:
        In the first days after the 2016 presidential election, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project administered an online survey to K–12 educators from across the country. Over 10,000 teachers, counselors, administrators and others who work in schools have responded. The survey data indicate that the results of the election are having a profoundly negative impact on schools and students. Ninety percent of educators report that school climate has been negatively affected, and most of them believe it will have a long-lasting impact. A full 80 percent describe heightened anxiety and concern on the part of students worried about the impact of the election on themselves and their families.

        Again, on what basis do you drop discussion of white students?

        The actual survey is attached at the end of the report. It asks about anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-white, et cetera, incidents. But the anti-white stats are never cited. I read through the report and found one anti-white incident, and one anti-Trump incident, among the dozens of anecdotes.Report

        • Avatar Pinky says:

          Oh, I don’t like that. I didn’t “read through” the report. Maybe skimmed through, or read over. I can’t say for certain that it only has those two references. Sorry.Report

    • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

      They recently made a splash by listing Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maajid Nawaz as anti-Muslim extremists. At least as a non-Muslim who has some bad things to say about Islam, you could make some (IMO incorrect) arguments for Ayaan Hirsi Ali. But Nawaz himself is a Muslim, which would make him a really weird anti-Muslim extremist.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        I’ve been called a self-hating jew around here.
        Because apparently people have trouble separating Zionist Propaganda from a Religion.
        (I will note: it is a lot easier to separate the two if you weren’t inculcated from birth)

        ** This is not even to say anything about the Zionist Propaganda. Good,Bad,Ugly, Indifferent. Just, it exists.Report

  4. Avatar Pinky says:

    A couple of the links are screwy.Report

  5. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    The link for LTIP is broken. Maybe you meant to do that because I googled that phrase and now I’m horrified. I never did watch it. Now I’m sure not to.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Death Penalty: I wonder if this reflects broader trends in favor and opposition of the death penalty.

    Sex Offender in Tent: The issue is that policy doesn’t seem to matter especially in highly emotional cases. You can publish all the studies and research that you want about the ineffectiveness and problems of sex offender registries, the living requirement situations, amber alerts, etc. But if an Amber Alert goes out, people will still post it all over social media to “boost the signal” and feel good about themselves because it fights the existential threat of general powerlessness in most situations.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 says:

      Most people really don’t fear the right sort of thing with sexual predators. They fear rapists in bushes, and child molesters at the park.

      They should be fearing the casual friend they’re having drinks with, or the trusted figure or relative they often leave their kids with.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        It is difficult to fear the gray. Being scared of the dark is so much easier.
        The difference between someone “swept off their feet” and “unable to coherently protest” is shades (at least if we remove the possibility of drugs). And society approves of the first, and scowls at the second — as they indeed ought.Report

      • Avatar Pinky says:

        I wonder what a Bayesian analysis of this would look like. I mean, a higher percentage of molesters are acquaintances than strangers, but I’d bet that a higher percentage of encounters with strangers are malicious than encounters with associates. Obviously, people should be reasonably wary at all times, but can a person even function if they’re on an equally heightened alert with everyone they know? Weird thought: that would create a generation of young adults who are paralyzed by normal human interaction, which actually describes our current crop of young adults, doesn’t it?Report

        • Avatar Morat20 says:

          No, they really can’t. But people are awful with risks in general and judging relative risks.

          You fear terrorism in America, but not getting behind the wheel? If terrorists scare you, the thought of driving should make you pass out from fear.

          Worry about “thugs breaking into your house”? Unless you live in one of a very few high crime areas, you should be more scared of the gun you bought to protect yourself.

          Or, of course, you can just accept that life has risks, pay attention in defensive driving and get a dog and slap an alarm label in your window, and go on with life mitigating the big risks as best you can without compromising your life.

          But the pants wetting American terror of “terrorism” (for all the rhetoric about “not letting the terrorists win” we clearly DID let them win) or “armed thugs” or “rapists in the bushes”? Entirely out of place to the actual risk.

          But by god, it makes for far more exciting news, right? You might tune in, see those commercials that are the real point anyways.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck says:

            “You fear terrorism in America, but not getting behind the wheel? ”

            The wheel isn’t trying to kill me (and neither are the other motorists, usually).

            “go on with life mitigating the big risks as best you can without compromising your life.”

            well, sure! What if what we’re doing is what that looks like? What if “someone might hijack a plane and suicide-crash into a building” was always a risk that wasn’t recognized before? What if “someone might build a homemade bomb and blow up a public event” was always a risk but wasn’t recognized before?Report

            • Avatar Morat20 says:

              What’s intent got to do with it? The wheel isn’t trying to kill you, but that won’t prevent you from dying. And you’re going to be in a LOT more car accidents than terrorism events.

              Is it somehow WORSE to die because someone did it on purpose than in an accident?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “What’s intent got to do with it?”

                If the wheel were trying to kill me, and I knew it, then I probably would be a lot less confident about driving around in the car.

                “you’re going to be in a LOT more car accidents than terrorism events.”

                see bro I can get where you’re going because I thought Freakonomics was cool too but if you’re gonna make statistical arguments then you need to make the right ones.

                Like, you can’t just spread the number of incidences out over the entire population and pretend that means anything, because these events do occur. And should a terrorist attack occur that you are directly targeted by, the chances of being killed are quite high. On the other hand, should an automobile accident occur that you are directly involved in, the chances of being killed is only one-half percent.

                I mean, if you’re going to go “whole human race” to compare to, then no safety precaution that incurs even the slightest cost is worth doing, because a giant meteor that obliterates the planet would kill everybody.Report

          • Avatar Mr. Blue says:

            No, they really can’t. But people are awful with risks in general and judging relative risks.

            You fear terrorism in America, but not getting behind the wheel? If terrorists scare you, the thought of driving should make you pass out from fear.

            Do hate crimes next.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        “Most people really don’t fear the right sort of thing with sexual predators. They fear rapists in bushes, and child molesters at the park.”

        So you’re suggesting that we should treat casual friends and trusted relatives with the same degree of paranoid suspicion that we currently apply to strangers who might be rapists or child molesters?

        Because the reason that there isn’t a higher prevalence of persons being attacked from the bushes is not “there’s never anything in the bushes to worry about”.Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird says:


    Okay, the *NEXT* Supreme Court Case that you’re going to get sick of hearing about will be the 7-2 decision in South Dakota v. Dole.

    In 1984, the United States Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which withheld 5% of federal highway funding from states that did not maintain a minimum legal drinking age of 21. South Dakota, which allowed 19-year-olds to purchase beer containing up to 3.2% alcohol, challenged the law, naming Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole as the defendant.

    Get in line and get ready to ask the various lawyers on this site “but what about?” and “wait, why not?” when it comes to this one because we’re going to be leaning on it really, really heavy in the coming months.Report

    • Avatar Mo says:

      SD v. Dole was significantly limited by NFIB v. Burwell. Will be quite amusing to see sanctuary cities defended by the same case that limited Obamacare by taking out the Medicaid expansion mandate.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Now known as National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, I think.

        Oh, man. It’s one thing when the precedent you’re relying on is something that people haven’t even looked at since the 80’s.

        When it’s a precedent you upheld last year?


        • Avatar PD Shaw says:

          Basically, 5% of highway funds was de minimis. Losing all Medicaid funding was not. Now we have the boundaries, we can try to find the line that lies between them.Report

        • Avatar Mo says:

          Yeah, it changed names when the HHS Secretary changed. The other case that will protect sanctuary cities is the anti-commandeering decision in Printz v. United States, which was related to gun control and the feds forcing local law enforcement to run background checks for the feds on firearm purchasers. Forcing local law enforcement to run background checks for the feds is pretty indistinguishable from running immigration status, process-wise.Report

    • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

      At this point, 2016 is just spiking the football. Aren’t there supposedly rules against that?Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko says:

        I’m afraid that by new year’s the only thing holding us together will be our shared sorrow that John Glenn, David Bowie, Prince, etc. are no longer with us.Report

        • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

          If that’s the only thing keeping us from each others’ throats at this point, we’re done as a species. Better we be wiped out and God/evolution/whatever you believe start over with the octopi or the fieldmice or something as the sentient being on this Earth.

          (Then again, some days I wonder if it isn’t “sentience” that’s the problem, rather than “human”)Report

  8. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Posted, with comment, in the spirit of Jaybird:

    This is why I can tell you that this idea that “better messaging” to the white working class is somehow the royal road back to political majorities for the Democratic party is nonsense.

    Hells yeah. Ya got my ears up.

    Sure, Democrats always need to work on speaking like mortal human beings… But messaging itself is not the problem.

    Exactly. I’m right with ya.

    The media is the problem. And since, as the man said, the medium is the message, until we start taking on the media as Public Enemy #1, we’re going to go right on losing…


    • Avatar gregiank says:

      All the points are correct: better messaging, speak to people as humans and the media has been a major problem. They aren’t exclusive. I’m not sure what taking on the media means but the D’s need to get better at working “the refs” because the media sure as hell loves them “real muricans are heartland ( read as white) folks” kinda stuff. The media has plenty of biases to go around.Report

      • Avatar Brent F says:

        The American left and right both appear to think that the American media is hopelessly biased against them.

        I think the truth is that they are just collectively bad at their jobs and hopelessly biased in favour of the interests and viewpoints of their peculiar social class and not a particular party or political movement.Report

        • Avatar gregiank says:

          I completely agree the media has the biases of the class they generally fall in. They also have the normal biases of most americans. I don’t’ know if the media worse now then it was ( most likely not) but we have so much more of it, the flaws are more apparent.

          It’s not that the media is biased against either party. The media’s flaws affect the system helping and hurting each party at times. The media is also an overly vague term. CNN indeed is truly terrible but is far from all the media.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          Karl Rove accurately described the media as oppositional rather than liberal or conservative.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            I don’t think they’re even oppositional, at least as a principle. The principle is to make money, and they do that by picking headlines and storylines which management thinks will attract eyeballs. Being “neutral” or “oppositional” is a meta pretense adopted for political reasons.Report

            • Avatar Aaron David says:

              I don’t think that is it Still. I would say they are loyal to the class they belong to, which is upper middle, which is mainly Democrat. They believe in those values in the main and will break that way if they choose a side. But, and it is a big but, journalism, as far as it is partizan, is a massive prisoners dilemma. Many open secrets, everyone know, etc. But the minute they feel the story is going to be broken, its a fight to get to the presses. John Edwards being a good example of that. They get paid either way, as long as what they write gets eyeballs, the making money is, as you said, managements decision.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        The reason I said “in the spirit of Jaybird” is because he frequently says you can tell how a game’s going by who’s criticizing the referees. Trump got plenty of bad press this past election. More than Clinton. (Heck, ALL of his press was bad.) Do you disagree?

        {{And don’t say “she was never charged with a crime!” 🙂 }}Report

        • Avatar gregiank says:

          In any game both sides are trying to work the refs so pointing out who is criticizing doesn’t really get you far. In fact noting who is doing most of the criticizing might just be a product of our own filters and who is loudest, not who is rightest.

          I’ll agree that the press made all sorts of errors. And really how can anybody disagree with that.

          Can i say “Comey in the last week of the election?”Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            The dude’s solution to reversing the Dem slide is to treat the refs like public enemy number 1. You don’t find that strange? Or mildly (if not extremely) abhorrent?

            Add: eh, Comey. It’s not like we can blame what he did on the press. (Or can we?)Report

            • Avatar gregiank says:

              It’s a new world, we need to completely recalibrate our abhorrence meters. Or just toss them in the bin. But no i don’t think treating the media as PE1 is the answer.Report

            • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

              We can blame the media covering it like they just discovered the smoking gun.

              Also, treating the media like public enemy #1 seems to have been pretty successful for the GOP. But I know, different rules for Democrats.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            I got something better.

            In any game both sides are trying to work the refs

            So if the Patriots lose their first game with the Jets, Bill Belichick’s game plan going into the second game is to do everything the same but work the refs harder?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Oh, I was hoping that it was the “watch the light in my eyes die… IN REAL TIME!” part of the comment.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      I actually think the biggest problem is messaging. Or, at least, that’s the first problem to be confronted. Then see where you are. Maybe you need to do more. A lot of the “It’s going to take a lot more than messaging” is often a roundabout to “It would take so much to have an impact we should not bother doing anything because they’ll never vote for us anyway.”

      But, like, the first step is imagine you are speaking in front of a crowd in Western Pennsylvania. Imagine you had to do because your spouse insisted you married up so this thing is the thing you have to do. What would you say? Surely you can think of something that you have to offer them. So say that. Preferably in Western Pennsylvania (or wherever), but if not there then add it to the speeches. (Not as policy positions on your website that they should read and understand that their lives will be made better if you win.)

      That may help, it may not, but it’s worth a try. Even within existing public policy preference parameters. Politics is becoming too “comfort zone” oriented.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        I actually think the biggest problem is messaging.

        Depends on whether we’re talking about pure propaganda or a shift in focus. Propaganda is easy (and easily fails), whereas a shift in focus constitutes a real change.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          The media has a co-ordination problem.

          Much easier to make money with bullshit stories on the cover. Much easier to write articles about bullshit than about the 2nd order effects of some obscure policy. Much more expensive to hire someone capable of writing about the 2nd order effects of some obscure policy than someone merely capable of writing about bullshit.

          Then the bad part of how your bullshit writers only talk to other bullshit writers and while some of them may have made it to the biz after escaping flyover, they’re defensive about flyover because of the bullshit status games of modern journalism that people incapable of writing about the 2nd order effects of some obscure policy have to engage in.

          A shift in focus requires a heroic amount of effort. Easier to just write bullshit.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            To your point, I spent quite a few minutes (which is actually a long time…) googling for a precise breakdown of what the GOP can, and cannot repeal, in the ACA. Couldn’t find anything that talked about the actual substance in any depth (bits here and there, not well cited or argued) but found lots of sites talking about the politics and WHAT IT ALL MEANS politically, right now, before anyone has even proposed a bill.

            Back to the Dems: it’s been a standard liberal complaint going back at least 15-18 years that the Dems don’t message well. But I think that’s cuz conservative’s (Frank Lutz) have done a really great job at it. (Death taxes? You kidding me, that’s marketing genius? “Climate change” too!)

            What’s the Dem variation? “No, Chris, I don’t think the Flint officials should be fired, but I do think they should go under review for possible misconduct, fully considering the difficulty of the job at hand and the complexity of problem they were trying to solve, and if they are deemed liable I’ll appoint them to head the DNC yadada…”Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


            Your first paragraph is the LGM complaint against the media. Political journalists are lazy and too into the horse race aspects of politics and this makes them unable to cover real policy in any substantive way.Report

  9. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    So a Firefighter in NY has been accused of lighting fire to his own house and blaming it on BLM:

  10. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Okay, there are plenty of ways to have a perspective on a particular thing. Like if we said “Obama said this and saying that was a mistake!” and then we look at whatever the statement was, we see that only Republicans disagreed with it and all of the Democrats agreed with it and we could quickly conclude that “huh, that wasn’t really a mistake, really.”

    Now, if he said something and, in its wake, both Democrats and Republicans were saying “damn, that was a mistake!”, we could probably come to the conclusion that, yeah, Obama made a mistake.

    Anyway, all that to say, Trump nominated Andy Puzder to Department of Labor.

    As far as I can tell, this appears to be a mistake.Report